Repairs and maintenance in council and housing association homes

Your landlord is responsible for most repairs in your council or housing association home.

Landlord responsibilities

The council or housing association is responsible for:

  • most repairs
  • the safety of your home

Repair issues

The council or housing association is responsible for most repairs in your home including:

  • gas appliances
  • heating and hot water
  • toilets, baths, pipes and sinks
  • electrical wiring and any appliances they provide
  • common areas such as lifts and communal entrances
  • the structure and exterior of the building – including the roof, walls, windows and external doors

Your tenancy agreement sets out any extra responsibilities your landlord has.

Your landlord won't have to fix damage caused by you or your guests. If they do repair something you've damaged, you can be charged for this.

Health and safety

Your council or housing association must deal with gas electrical and fire safety issues.

They must make sure your home is fit to live in in if your tenancy began after 20 March 2019.

Your home may not be fit to live in because of hazards such as:

If your tenancy began before that date you can still complain to your council or housing association if there are health and safety problems in your home. 

Tenant's responsibilities

Your responsibilities include:

  • reporting repairs
  • keeping your home and garden reasonably clean and tidy
  • fixing or paying for any damage caused by you or your guests
  • carrying out minor jobs such as replacing smoke alarm batteries and light bulbs

Your tenants' handbook or tenancy agreement might set out any other responsibilities you have.

Decorating your home

You're usually responsible for decorating your home.

Your landlord could be responsible for redecoration:

Ask your landlord to pay something towards redecoration costs if the property is in a poor state of decoration when you start your tenancy.

Furnishing your home

Your home is usually unfurnished unless you're in temporary or supported housing.

You're expected to provide your own:

  • carpets
  • furniture
  • domestic appliances

You're responsible for repairing or replacing them.

If you can't afford to repair or replace things you may be able to apply for a:

What to do about repair issues

Report your issue to the council or housing association. Include details of:

  • repair problems that need fixing
  • how your health is being affected

You must allow your landlord or their contractor access to see what the problem is and what can be done about it. Allow a reasonable time for the work to be done.

If your landlord doesn’t do repairs

Contact your council or housing association landlord again if they take too long to do repairs or don't keep to an agreement about what should be repaired.

You can make a complaint if you're not happy with their response.

Damage to your home during repairs

Your landlord should fix any damage caused by their repair or maintenance work.

You can ask for a rent reduction if you can't use all or part of your home because of repair work.


Last updated 05 Aug 2019 | © Shelter

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